Kimi Räikkönen said he expects the Ferrari team to make a significant step forward next season after a tough 2014 campaign.

Speaking to the media at the Ferrari end-of-year Finali Mondiali at Abu Dhabi, the 2007 World Champion admitted that – while the foundations for success were being put in place – more needed to be done. Räikkönen finished a lowly twelfth in the Drivers’ Championship standings in his return year with Ferrari, failing to finish on the podium for the first time since his debut year with Sauber in 2001.

“It’s not been an easy year for me or the team,” he said with barely a hint of understatement.

“Ferrari is always expected to win races and fight at the front. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, but for the next season we laid down the basis for Scuderia Ferrari to come back to the level it should be at. There’s a lot of work to do but we know which areas we need to improve on. This job has already started and in the factory, we have everything we need, in terms of personnel and the means to make the necessary progress.

“All we need to do is work as a team, in the unified way that typified this team in past years. I’m sure the 2015 car will be much more competitive, although we will have to wait for the first test session to see where we really stand.”

Räikkönen once again welcomed Sebastian Vettel as his 2015 teammate and Maurizio Arrivabene as the new Team Principal. The pair replaces Fernando Alonso and Marco Mattiaci, respectively.

“As I’ve already said, Sebastian is a friend and I’m happy to be working with him. I think we can work well together as a team, pushing each other to the limit on track for the good of the Scuderia, as we aim to get it back to where it should be and I think Maurizio is great and perfect for the role he has been given. I’ve known him from before and have seen how competent he is. I think he will bring to the team his experience and that will prove to be very beneficial.”

Image via XPB Images

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Blaž Štremfelj

Journalist at MotorsportM8